Even though lots of people may turn up their noses at the idea of getting braces, the truth is that braces are incredibly common. And they’re not just for children, either. Studies show that around 4 million Americans have braces today.
There are tons of different reasons why you might need or want braces. But not every patient is the same, and the kind of braces that work well for someone else may not be right for you.
With all the different types of braces, it can be overwhelming and intimidating to know what to do. How do you know which type is right for you? How do you decide?
Don’t worry. We’re here to help. If you’re looking to brighten up your smile, here is a complete guide to all the different types of braces.
Why Get Braces?
The major reason why most people invest in braces is for their health. Unhealthy teeth can affect the health of the rest of your body. If your mouth isn’t healthy, then you may end up suffering in other areas as a result.
Misaligned teeth can lead to jaw issues and problems with biting, which can make it difficult and uncomfortable to eat. It can also increase the risk of chipping your teeth when biting down and cause pain to your jaw.
Crooked teeth are also harder to clean, as they overlap one another and make it more difficult for floss and toothbrushes to cover every inch. This means that without straight teeth, you may be at a higher risk for gum disease, cavities, and tooth decay.
It’s also important to keep in mind that different types of braces can work better for different cases. If you’re looking to adjust an overbite, you may need different dental braces than someone who wants to fix a gap in their teeth, for example.
Types of Braces
When getting braces, you should be aware of all the options that are available to you. Here are some of the most common types of braces for teeth.
Metal braces are the most common form of braces. They are the cheapest option, which is great for thrifty patients, but they are also the most obvious type.
Brackets, wires, and elastics are all used in metal braces. A metal bracket is attached to each tooth. These brackets are then linked together by a flexible wire that runs horizontally across your teeth, and elastic ties are used to attach the wire to the brackets.
This creates pressure, which is what causes your teeth to shift and move gradually over time. Eventually, your teeth will become properly aligned.
Metal braces are usually made of stainless steel, although they can be made of other metals as well. Often, they are worn for about 18 months. Each patient is different, though, so this may not be the case for you.
Ceramic braces work in the exact same way as metal braces. The difference is that they’re not as obvious or noticeable. They may also be more comfortable than metal braces since they irritate the gums less.
Ceramic braces can be made to match the color of your tooth enamel. This will cause them to blend in and make it less noticeable that you are wearing braces. The brackets, wire, and elastics can all be matched to the color of your teeth.
But ceramic braces come with drawbacks as well. Because of their color, they stain much easier than metal braces, meaning that they’re more high-maintenance in that area. They’re also more delicate and can be prone to chipping or breaking, so you might have to give up some of your favorite foods.
Damon braces work in a similar way to both ceramic and metal braces. The difference here is that damon braces don’t use elastics. Instead, they have a sliding “door” mechanism that holds the wire in place.
The lack of elastics in damon braces means that they’re a bit less noticeable than metal or ceramic braces. They’re also what’s known as self-ligating braces, which means that they work to align your teeth faster, and so require fewer trips to the orthodontist’s office.
However, you should bear in mind that this method isn’t right for all patients. Make sure you talk to an orthodontist before deciding between the different types of braces.
Lingual braces are the most subtle type of braces yet. For patients who want a very discreet treatment, these are a good way to go.
Unlike the first three options, lingual braces are installed on the backside of your teeth. They’re hidden behind your teeth and therefore are the least obvious method.
They’re also entirely customized to fit the shape of your teeth. While this is good to ensure that you get great results, it also means that you have to pay for more visits to the orthodontist.
Lingual braces have a few other drawbacks as well. They are generally more uncomfortable to wear and more expensive than the other types. They’re also more difficult to clean, which can lead to a buildup of bacteria, and in some cases, they can affect your speech.
If you’re very concerned about your appearance, you may want to consider investing in lingual braces. But you should make sure that you do your research so that you’re fully aware of the challenges they can present.
Alternatives for Braces
One of the most commonly known clear aligners is Invisalign. Aligners like this are clear, removable molds or trays that go over your teeth.
Even though they’re removable, you still need to wear them quite often. They should be in for at least 20 hours every day for 2 weeks for each set of molds. You’ll switch out molds as your alignments change and your teeth become straighter.
This option is also not very visible or obvious. They are clear brackets that stretch across your teeth on a wire.
As the name suggests, you’ll likely have to wear this device for at least six months. If necessary, it may need to be longer.
Veneers work well for patients who have gaps in their teeth, fractures, or misshapen teeth. They’re good for celebrities, athletes, or any other relatively famous person who smiles often at cameras.
They’re also known as “capped teeth”. A layer of enamel is removed from the tooth and a veneer is used to replace or “cap” it.
Find Out More About the Different Types of Braces
If you have concerns about the alignment of your teeth, it might be time to consider getting braces. There are lots of different types of braces, but we’re confident that you’ll find the right option for your teeth.
Book your free exam today to learn more!